Many people during this season are focused on “gifts.” I think the very word gift and its meaning need to be redefined. Have you ever received a gift you didn’t need or want? I’m sure we all can think of a gift that we couldn’t wait to give away or throw away. The lavender candle that makes us nauseous. A sweater with tacky ribbons and bells, or a hideous trinket that we have no space for. Sometimes we love the giver but not the gift. Sometimes we love the gift but not the giver. Ponder that.
There is a drug rehab house where people can check in who are broken. The program is set up in a way where the person is ready to go cold turkey. They are prepared to become sicker than they’ve ever been and work their way back to the light. Light can blind darkness, but at first, it hurts our eyes. Once a person enters this rehabilitation house they have to earn things. The addict gets an empty room and after some time they earn a pillow. They earn a blanket. They earn a cot. They earn showers and hot meals. They earn respect. They earn privileges and then they are awarded a task or job. They are free to leave at any time. Once they have earned the freedom to go back out into the world and get a job or training, they are still held accountable. If they are found to have fallen back into the old lifestyle, they are stripped of all the “gifts.” Yes, even their pillow. If someone gave you a pillow it might not mean much, but to a person without a pillow, it can have great meaning.
Gifts can be tricky.
Some of those people resting their heads on a pillow might not ever think of the cost or even recognize that someone purchased it. We often can treat our salvation as a gift that has no cost.
“Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. “For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it? “Luke 14:27-28.
Another story about cost is found in the book of Samuel.
When King Araunah offered a free-threshing floor to David, he said: “ No, but I will surely buy it from you for a price, for I will not offer burnt offerings to the LORD my God which cost me nothing.” 2nd Samuel 24:24.
Salvation is a free gift but even a pillow needs a case cover and a shaking at times.
A gift can come as a Crayola drawing made by little hands. It can be an heirloom passed down. It can be a meal shared. Our time. Our prayers. Our love, but if the person receiving the gift finds no worth in us or it, it means nothing.
Israel was taking their blind sick animals and offering them to the Father of lights–the one who created their very breath and gave them everything including His Name. They were bringing Him gifts with no heart, no fear, no awe, and no knowledge of who they were presenting a gift to.
He meant nothing to them. Why? Sometimes we love the giver but not the gift. Sometimes we love the gift but not the giver. Sometimes we get so many things handed to us we don’t even recognize their value. They were keeping the choice animals for themselves. The very one who created all the cattle on all the hills was getting a gift of sick, lame, blind animals as a sweet smelling aroma? OH MY!
“. . . You bring what was taken by robbery and what is lame or sick; so you bring the offering! Should I receive that from your hand?” says the LORD. “But cursed be the swindler who has a male in his flock and vows it, but sacrifices a blemished animal to the Lord, for I am a great King,” says the LORD of hosts, “and My name is feared among the nations.” Malachi 1:13-14.
I once knew a man that when his clothes became dirty he just threw them away. He did not think of the money wasted or his time and labor to purchase them. Items were replaceable, but we can even treat people with the same amount of worth. We can take The Great King for granted. What type of gift do you bring a King? Many during this season sit in traffic and stand in line at malls. They run up credit cards to make purchases to acknowledge a King—a Great KING. A King whose Son died a bloody death.
There are two words for a gift in Hebrew. “minchah: Strong’s 4503: a gift, tribute, an offering.
And. . .
Mattan: Strong’s 4976. Mattan—a gift from the name Nathan; a present — a gift, to give, a reward. This meaning is connected to the bride dowry. Psalms 19:11 talks about these instructions (Commandments) and explains, “Moreover, by them, Your servant is warned; In keeping them there is a great reward.”
The Bible says all good and perfect gifts come down from The Father of Lights. The gift of salvation is not just a gift but a responsibility to take care of the gift—to guard the gift. To recognize the cost of the gift. To be a living sacrifice. Yeshua told us that if we loved Him, then we should keep His Commandments (John 14:15). The reason The Father wrote His children a certificate of divorce and sent them away is that they had no regard for His gift. Their marriage vows. They had no regard for Him. The Giver of life gave us our very breath. He also gave us His Torah instructions for a good life. If I give you a gift and you hide it in a closet, it means nothing. If I give you a gift and you don’t like it, never use it, never look upon it with cherished memories–again nothing, el zippo. If you have a child and you want good things for that child, do not give him/her everything he/she wants because they will never find worth in it.
The bible is a book about a family and the instructions for a family. It’s a book about the tree of life—not an evergreen tree. Sadly many are trying to be engrafted into a tree created by Constantine, the Catholic Church, as well as Martin Luther.
The winter solstice is when pagans celebrate the sun for winning over the darkness of a cold dreary winter. December 25th is the day of the nativity of the invincible sun–Dies Natalis Solis Invictus. What stays alive in winter? Evergreens.
I celebrate my children’s birthdays on the day they were born. Jesus was a Jew from the tribe of Judah. He was not born on December 25th. He was born on a Feast day. He died on a Feast day. He arose on a Feast day. He will return on a Feast day. Trumpets and shofars are not blown on Christmas or Easter, they are blown on Feast days. Perhaps you remember an old hymn that goes like this, “When the trumpet of the Lord shall sound and time will be no more?”
“1 Corinthians 15:52 – In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.”
No man knows the day or hour. But wait, is there more going on here? Can we know something the ones in darkness don’t know? The ones who have been given a free pillow but are asleep. The ones who squint at the light because they have not become blind so they can see.
“For you, yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night. While they are saying, “Peace and safety!” then destruction will come upon them suddenly like labor pains upon a woman with child, and they will not escape. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day would overtake you like a thief; for you are all sons of light and sons of day. We are not of night nor of darkness.” 1st Thessalonians 5:2-5 NASB.
Our Savior did not go to a Sunday morning church because the true day of rest never was changed from Sabbath to Sun-day. His Father doesn’t speak out of the side of his mouth. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Yeshua went to the synagogue on the Sabbath and as it was his custom. He read the Torah scroll from the book of Isaiah (Luke 4:17). There was no new testament. No King James Version. He even came to the temple for the Feast of Hanukkah (John 10:22). He kept every Feast of His Father perfectly. He said if you love me keep My Commandments.
Jesus said, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” Matthew 15:24. He died so the lost sheep of the ‘House of Israel’ whom His Father divorced could come back into the fold. We see that happening at a Feast day in the Book of Acts, as over 3,000 come back into their wedding contract. There was no prayer of salvation. There was a great humbling and Awe given to a Father who allowed His Son to take their sins upon a cross so they could have everlasting life.
Cherish the gift. Cherish the Vows. Place them on your gates and talk about them with your children. Guard them. Protect His Feast days, not the days the world deems holy.
Many may be offended, but what if while we are trying to make them happy, we offend HIM?
Sometimes we love the giver but not the gift. Sometimes we love the gift but not the giver.
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